Rugby League: Kells 6 - 6 Mayfield

Date published: 11 April 2024

Mayfield and Kells fought out a tough battle in an absolutely horrendous wind on a heavy clifftop pitch over looking the Solway Firth at Whitehaven on Saturday 6 April.

The standard of rugby on display was, considering the conditions, breathtaking. Both sets of players gave it everything and should be proud of the effort they put in for their respective clubs.

Kells looked like opening the scoring after being awarded repeat sets in the Mayfield 20. They probably would have got that first try but for a superb tackle from Dakota Tolhurst which saw him dislodge the ball from the Kells prop and turn defence into attack. Within seconds Mayfield had moved the ball wide and Corey Newsham raced 40m before being caught, quick play saw Dev Long feed Zac Baker who was stopped short after looking like he was going over.

Both sides continued to knock lumps out of each other with ferocious defence, neither looked like letting the other in for that opening try. James McDade looked most likely to break the deadlock as he made some brilliant long range breaks. Jordan Parr was having a storming game, mopping up in defence and causing problems in possession. When McDade put him through a narrow gap Parr must have thought he was scoring, only for the Kells winger to appear from nowhere and pull off a superb tackle to keep him out.

Kells didn't keep Mayfield out for long though as Dev Long found the rampaging Nick Hargreaves with a neat short pass, Hargreaves proved unstoppable as he crashed through the defence to give his side the lead, Parr converted despite the wind coming in from the sea, 0 - 6.

Mayfield were looking the better team and the travelling supporters fully expected them to be scoring again before half time, but it was the home side who came nearest, with only the brilliant Parr stopping them with a try saver on the line. 

The second half saw Kells pick up their game as they came to terms with the driving wind. The winger intercepted ten minutes in and raced away, he must of been thinking he was scoring, but he didn't see Parr, who showed a fantastic turn of pace as he chased him down from his own half, and again kept Mayfield's lead intact. Mayfield were under some heavy pressure now as the Kells forwards looked to open their account. They looked like they were going to do just that but Mayfield's never say die attitude saw Tolhurst manage to halt the attack.


Jordan Parr
Jordan Parr


This was a real blood and guts effort from both sides and neither looked like letting up. Kells were enjoying a run of possession due to a couple of harsh decisions from the officials and this was putting Mayfield under enormous pressure. Time and again the line held firm Newsham, Parr, Connolly and Slater put in a gargantuan effort along with Max Riseham who had probably his best game in a Mayfield shirt so far.

With five minutes left it looked like Mayfield would hold out and take the points back down the M6 with them, but the wind still had a part to play, as the Kells half back put a huge kick downfield, the wind caught the ball and carried it out for a 40/20 and possession back for the home side.

Knowing the clock was ticking they played the ball quickly and moved play from right to left catching out the Mayfield defence for the first time, and their loose forward capitalised as he dived in by the posts, the conversion sailed between the uprights to level the scores at 6 - 6.

There was still time for either side to seal the win but neither had quite enough guile to accomplish this, although Kells had two unsuccessful drop goal attempts. The whistle went and the contest was done, with both sets of supporters showing their appreciation for a great game of rugby in terrible conditions.

Mayfield felt they should have won this game and it felt like they'd had their pocket picked after leading for so long, but that's the way sport goes, you 've just got to take it on the chin and come back stronger next week.

Coach Sam Butterworth was philosophical as he summed up the game later: "Overall I was happy with the way we went about our task today. The desire and the work rate showed by the lads left me feeling very proud of them as a team.

"The conditions were tough and made what was always going to be a hard game even harder. But even in those conditions we tried to play open rugby league, that's who we are and that's what we do. Hopefully, when we look back on this game come the end of the season, we will see it a a point gained rather than a point lost."

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